Navigating homophobia within one’s own family can be tricky, particularly when it comes to older, more conservative family members.
But how important is it to show solidarity with your LGBTQ+ family members when it comes to inviting those homophobic relatives to an important life event, like a wedding?
Redditor aita-homophobic recently clashed with his queer cousins over this issue regarding his upcoming wedding, so he turned to the subReddit “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) to see if he’s in the wrong.
“AITA for being ‘homophobic’ by inviting my grandparents to my wedding?”
The original poster (OP) explained the circumstances.
“Fake names and throwaway account and whatnot. (I called the account ‘aita-homophobic’ but that was because it was an available username. I don’t think I’m a homophobe).”
“I (21m[ale]) am getting married this summer. I am straight; my fiancée is a woman, obviously.”
“I have two older cousins (29m and 26f[emale]) let’s call them Mark and Jane, both of whom are openly gay/lesbian, respectively.”
“My grandparents (87m and 79f) are unashamedly homophobic. They have attended every straight wedding in the family.”
“They declined invitations to Mark and Jane’s weddings because they ‘don’t believe that’s a real marriage’.”
Despite their faults, the OP doesn’t want his grandparents to miss his wedding, even if it means hurting Mark and Jane.
“Here’s the problem: Homophobia aside, my grandparents are amazing, hardworking, good people. I intend to invite them to my own wedding. Jane and Mark completely oppose this.”
“Because I’m a bit of a ‘golden boy’ for the family, they want me to exclude my grandparents from my wedding to punish my grandparents and to ‘promote marriage equality’. I refuse to listen to them.”
This has caused a rift, which has made the OP feel a bit torn about his decision.
“Most of the family has taken my side (it’s a very big family), except for Jane, Mark, their in-laws, and Mark’s parents. They call me a homophobe and a terrible person or beg me not to invite my grandparents.”
“I won’t listen to them, but I feel somewhat sorry that I’m not fighting my grandparents for them. I can’t help but feel like a bit of an a**hole for that.”
“What do you think Reddit? AITA?”
After getting some responses, the OP edited his post to add a few more details.
“Thanks for the replies. I want to clarify one thing.”
“My grandparents will be mostly respectful to Jane and Mark if they’re all at the wedding. They call their spouses their ‘boyfriend/girlfriend’ and don’t show that they’re bothered by their relationship (unless someone straight up asks them).”
“I should also add that they don’t hate Mark. Even though they dodged his wedding, they helped pay for his college tuition and he and his husband’s house mortgage (they didn’t do this for Jane (or Jane’s straight brother) because they have conservative views on immigration and my grandparents are immigrants).”
Redditors weighed in on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Most weren’t too keen on the OP’s decision.
“YTA. Your grandparents are bigots. That automatically disqualifies them from being amazing people.”
“But, if you’re good with having bigots in your family and showing them that you support their disgusting beliefs (by tolerating them, you’re telling others that you agree with them, which is why they’re calling you a homophobe) that’s your prerogative.”—debt2set
“I second this YTA. You have made it clear that you enjoy their favoritism. I am going to ask you a couple of questions that I hope help you decide.”
“1. Will you regret making either choice? If the grandparents come vs the cousins? If so, do what you can live with.”
“2. Will you have these cousins in your life? This is a decision that goes beyond one day.”
“You’re standing with hatred in their eyes. I understand the choice as you see it but I don’t know if you’re thinking about the future also.”
“3. Do you feel good about this choice? This doesn’t necessarily make it right or wrong. I don’t know what my own choice would be as I’m not you.”
“I do know it might be helpful to communicate feelings to cousins. ‘I can’t imagine my wedding without the old AHs. I know it hurts you but they’re grandma and grandpa. Can we celebrate separately?'”
“They may say no but making an effort at acknowledging the horribleness of how they’re treated and wanting them might be enough. It might not be.”
“Just remember to ask yourself what changes for each choice and in the long run. Any favoritism is toxic with kids.”
“You’re benefitting from their toxic behavior and while it’s easy to want to maintain that because it is comfortable? It does have a cost.”—FirebirdWriter
“YTA and people like you are why these bigots never change, because even though you recognize they are terrible, you treat them well and include them in your life because they are nice to you.”
“Your grandparents are not ‘amazing, hardworking, good people’ they are rotten and deserve to be shunned, not invited to weddings.”—VROF
“I mean, you’re prioritizing the comfort and inclusion of homophobes, and making sure they don’t face consequences for their behavior, helping the world stay a more comfortable place to be a homophobe.”
“So yeah, supporting other people’s ability to be homophobic is actually homophobic, the same way that covering for racists is in itself racist.”
“Real change and justice can’t just come from the marginalized. It’s the normalized population, the ones in positions of relative power (in this situation, that’s you) who must help out.”
“You can choose to let the opportunity pass by, but understand that in doing so, you’re protecting your grandparents’ homophobia. And that’s homophobic.”
There were a few who were a bit more sympathetic, however.
“Eh, as a gay man, he’s NTA. It’s his wedding, he can invite whoever he wants as long as they agree to act civil and respectful.”
“A wedding is a day for the couple, not protests. What happens if he disinvites them and half his family doesn’t come?”
“One of the things that all LGBTQ people must accept is that there will always be bigots, and we all need to learn how to deal with them.”
“It looks a lot better to come in and act respectful and take the moral high ground rather than to make demands on loved ones. Let the bigots make themselves look bad.”—Gojira085
“I’m gay as well, and I feel like this is a tough one. If it were me, I would’t put pressure on a younger cousin to disinvite his/her grandparents if they have a great relationship with them.”
“But by god sit all opposing parties as far away from each other as possible cause I wouldn’t wanna be around homophobes either.”
“NAH (except the grandparents)”—ayrainy
“NTA. It’s your marriage, not a protest.”
“I understand why your cousins are mad with their grandparents but if you love them and want them in your marriage, it’s your decision and it doesn’t make you an homophobe.”
“It’s also up to your cousins not to attend bc of the presence of their bigot grandparents, but it’s not their place to tell you who to invite.”—girl_in_red_costume
One Redditor’s response that got a lot of traction gave the OP quite a bit to consider.
“Rather than leave a judgement, I’ll give you my thoughts as a gay person:”
“I don’t have the ability to think about things through the lens of ‘homophobia aside.’ All of that homophobia that others can put to the side is always front and center for us.”
“It affects our employment, our safety, our mental health, and a lot of other areas of our lives that would otherwise be normal.”
“But we’re queer, so people can’t leave well enough alone. I’ve had people threaten my employment just because I’m gay. People I didn’t even know.”
“Homophobes believe that queer people are less than. You just said they don’t believe Jane’s and Mark’s respective marriages are real.”
“They don’t believe they’re valid. They don’t believe they deserve that happiness, or peace of mind.”
“Imagine if your grandparents told YOU they didn’t approve of your marriage and would not attend the wedding. How hurt would you be?”
“To see these people who, up until then, you had such a wonderful relationship with? What about Jane and Mark? How was it to find out that these people wouldn’t attend?”
“And is it just the wedding? Have your grandparents failed to acknowledge them elsewhere?”
“Failed to treat them with the same respect they give everyone else? What goes on that maybe you don’t see?”
“So now you have the grandparents coming to your wedding. And you’ve asked Jane and Mark to suck up the reminder that Grandma and Grandpa see them as lesser by the very act of your grandparents’ presence, enjoying themselves, laughing, dancing.”
“Stuff they’d never do for Jane and Mark, who at some point were kids I assume who looked up to them (and even if they weren’t disowned, you don’t get to accept queer people only when they fit in).”
“And by inviting them, the message you send is ‘I know they treated you like sh*t, but they don’t treat me like sh*t so, y’know, get over it.’ You’ve established that your values are only your values insofar as the issue affects you and your own life directly.”
“I know the grandparent situation is complicated. And I know you love them.”
“But they have opinions about human beings tantamount to ‘these people don’t deserve rights.'” Or ‘their love isn’t real.'”
“Do yourself a favor and read up on just what kinds of problems queer couples face without marriage rights and try to put yourself in your cousins’ shoes.”
“Imagine that your own grandparents are the type of people to vote against your ability to see your terminal significant other in the hospital, get POA (power of attorney), assist in other affairs, you name it.”
“Imagine that they would vote to leave you cold, alone, and scared, while your spouse is in the hospital because they find your existence and love offensive (and don’t downplay it, just because you have the luxury of not seeing it that way).”
“There ARE wrong opinions. You can argue over pineapple on pizza all you want, but you don’t get to have an opinion on whether a person’s existence is valid.”
“We’re born as we are, but people like your grandparents are born into their opinions, and they can learn.”
“You can’t be friends with your friends’ abusers OP. And homophobia is abuse.”—Marmaladeanddryice
Hopefully the OP will take these comments to heart and figure out if it’s really worth ostracizing his cousins in favor of his bigoted grandparents.
Perhaps taking a stand against homophobia will help his cousins finally feel like they’re valued members of the family.